Petr Mach – true “crisis” would be EU bullying Ireland into ratifying Lisbon

Leaders of the European Union are sitting down in Brussels on Thursday to try to find a way out of the crisis created by Ireland’s rejection of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in Friday’s referendum. Following Britain’s ratification, all eyes are on the Czech Republic, where the Senate has sent the document to the Constitutional Court before they’ll go any further. So with Czech ratification on hold, what happens next? Rob Cameron spoke to Petr Mach, director of the Eurosceptic think tank the Centre for Economics and Politics, and began by asking him whether this really was a crisis.

“I would call it a crisis if the European Union continues to bully Ireland for how they decided, but if the European elites, the bureaucracy, the remaining nations will accept this result, it’s no crisis.”

Does that mean you believe the Czech Republic should not continue with the ratification process?

“I think it would be absurd. What is the purpose of voting in parliament? The purpose of voting in parliament is to pass bills or treaties and not to bully someone. And now the Irish people have rejected the treaty, it’s clear it cannot come into force. So I don’t want the Czech Republic and the Czech parliament to become a tool of the EU bureaucracy or some nations to bully Ireland.”

In your view then, is the treaty dead?

“It is, because it was rejected in one of the 27 nations so it cannot come into force. So it’s finished.”

Nonetheless, I think even you would agree we need something else. There are 27 members now in the EU. It started as six. The system we have is not designed to cope with so many, and the EU is simply inefficient and needs to be streamlined, made more effective. What do we do now?

“I think the European elitists and big nations told Ireland before enlargement a new treaty was needed. Then it was the Nice Treaty. So the Irish were told that they must ratify the Nice Treaty just because the EU needs a new treaty as it is enlarged. Now they’re being told the same thing about the Lisbon Treaty, and everybody could clearly see since enlargement in 2004 that the EU can work, can function with the current treaties.”

What then in your view should the politicians of this country do?

“You know that currently the treaty is standing in the Czech Constitutional Court, so until it decides whether it is in line, or not, with the Czech Constitution, everybody must wait. But I think the best thing would be for the Czech government to withdraw the treaty from the parliament entirely, because now it’s irrelevant. Any decision by the Czech parliament would be irrelevant.”